(1961) The Innocents

This is simply one of the most beautifully shot horror films from the early 60’s. Every frame is truly a picture and for that alone, I’d call this a must watch for horror fans.

The Innocents really goes beyond the cinematography though and gives us an incredibly powerful, character driven haunted house film. The narrative never definitively leads you in one way or the other and this confusion is something that holds through to the credits. This is something a lot of filmmakers try and do but few succeed at. The difference when it comes to towing that line is in the small details and eerie subtleties that help the viewer form their own opinion at the end.

I’m not sure what else to say, performances are all fantastic and it’s simply one of the best haunted house films I’ve ever seen.

9/10

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(1994) New Nightmare

It’s not the first meta horror film but I believe it might be the first “modern” use of this concept. People really dig this one but I can’t say I agree, at least not to the same extent.

Just to cover the creativity aspect, everything does tie together quite geniously. They definitely elevated the plot above the simplicity of the movie-in-a-movie idea. That part of the film is indeed a strength.

I really didn’t care for the child actor though. Is it okay to rip on kids? If so, that kid fucking sucks dude, he sucks in Pet Cemetery too. His performance is comical at best.

I also didn’t care for Freddy’s new look, he just didn’t need it and ended up looking more like The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers.

It’s good, not great.

6/10

(2017) 1922

I’m really into the idea of adapting novellas. It’s a great base for horror and filmmakers can really strip apart an idea for the creepy details.

1922 is pretty straightforward but the punchline isn’t exactly spoon fed. It’s a film about guilt and more specifically, inescapable guilt.

Thomas Jane is really the highlight of the entire movie. His performance absolutely blew me away. I truly had no idea he was capable of this caliber acting. Its this performance that really kept the candle burning when the pace slowed down.

I really dug this one but the coffee hasn’t kicked in quite yet and I’m having difficultly formulating my thoughts.

7.5/10

(2017) Mother!

I caught the first showing of this today at 11am and it’s been on my mind ever since. It sometimes baffles me how reviewers can exclaim a film to be meaningless when I just got so much out of it, seemingly too much to even fully comprehend through a single viewing.

Mother! is an incredibly conscientious statement on the nature of humanity, steeped in religious allegory. Unfortunately, it’s likely to fall on deaf ears for many, given that Aronofsky’s message isn’t exactly spelled out. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way, the film just works through such a slow burn, which isn’t always the best way to feed the impatient.

The last 30 min or so makes up for any weariness over the pacing. It’s one of the most intense, impressive sequences I’ve seen in a horror film in the last decade. The absolute perfect icing on the cake for what is such a masterful dip into surrealism.

I don’t believe Mother! is for the casual moviegoer. However, if you’re willing to keep an open mind and devote your full attention, you may just treat yourself to one of the best horror films of 2017.

9.5/10

(1968) Hour of the Wolf

I’m absolutely blown away and as much as I’d like to take a day to digest this, there’s just so much going on here that I feel the need to get out what I can immediately.

Hour of the Wolf is a top to bottom, beautifully produced psychological, surrealist nightmare. The first half of the film is fueled by pure intrigue through the perplexity of events that unfold. Like most surrealist films, a portion of your attention is devoted to figuring out what’s real and what isn’t. To speak to that aspect specifically, not a whole lot is left to the imagination, at least through my interpretation. I definitely feel like this inspired filmmakers like David Lynch to push some of those boundaries, eliminating the extra explanation and leaving more up to the viewers interpretations.

The ending itself was just so fucking enthralling and I’m sorry for tossing out overused buzz words but I really mean enthralling. The last half hour was watched literally mouth agape, hands on my face. I couldn’t believe what this film was evolving into, or at least I was most certainly not expecting it.

I’m sure there’s a few, well thought out explanations of the meaning of this film but I’m satisfied enough with my own. I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this to not look up anything, if you’re reading this, you already know too much!

9.5/10

(2003) Dreamcatcher

I think Dreamcatcher is successful in that, it kept me fairly entertained for the entire 2+ hour run time. Unfortunately, looking at it from a critical aspect and taking into account what the writers and directors were trying to do, it fell somewhat flat.

This film is a really tough one to review because there’s just so much going on. I think it starts really strong with an interesting platform of telepathy and sets the stage for what could have been a great mystery to piece together. Somewhere along the way though, it just goes full on Independence Day.

This basically wasn’t what I personally wanted but it’s not terrible for what it is. There’s an odd mix of sort of child-geared sci-fi that I can’t get behind but I still maintain it to be an enjoyable watch.

6/10

(2008) 4bia

This was a fairly solid anthology but looking back as early as 2008 tells me the tricks pulled here weren’t anything new. With that being said, that criticism isn’t blanketed over all four parts.

Part two is very strange but somewhat unique. It has tons of black magic and I wasn’t expecting them to take it as far as they did. However, the shaky cam does get annoying and the CGI effects leave something to be desired.

I won’t go into detail about the other segments but they’re all pretty fun and work well as shorts. I’m a sucker for anthologies and this did sort of scratch the itch in that department. I’m looking forward to seeing the sequel.

6/10